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"Cell" Turns Sirtris Into Serious Buy

Friday, 21 Sep 2007 | 2:05 PM ET
CNBC.com

It's relatively lightly traded and it's a very small market cap (under $500 million), but shares of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals are sitting at a new high in the early going today. The stock has had a very nice move since the end of June when it was trading for less than 10 bucks. Today, it's over $15.

A research publication in the scientific journal "Cell" is what's making investors buy the stock. The science is extremely complex with terms I'd never heard of before including"sirtuins", "NAD" (an enzymatic molecule) and "NAMPT" (a gene). But, in layman's terms, the bottom line is that Sirtris, Harvard, Cornell and National Institutes of Health scientists show evidence for the first time that a mechanism at the cellular level proves that limiting caloric intake may help you live longer. Or, at least, make mammalian cells in the lab live longer. And they think it could someday lead to a pill to ward off all sorts diseases that people tend to get when they get older.

So have they discovered the fountain of youth? Well, Rodman & Renshaw senior biotech analyst Mike King writes in a super-dense research note to clients this morning, "This important finding throws open the possibility of a new pathway of treatment for age related diseases and new druggable targets. In our opinion, Sirtris has a significant first-mover advantage in this exciting new era of biology." R & R has done investment banking for SIRT and wants to do more. It also makes a market in the stock. King also writes, "...this article (in "Cell") is a further validation of the ever-expanding therapeutic potential of (targeting the particular enzymes)…and added shareholder value to SIRT."

That shareholder value is being added as I write.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com